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Soundtrack Review

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Vera Drake / All or Nothing
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Andrew Dickson
Label: Caldera Records
RRP: £13.99

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Release Date: 30 October 2020

Caldera Records presents Andrew Dickson’s music for Mike Leigh’s films Vera Drake and All or Nothing. All or Nothing tells the story of a family who spend their days working at essential yet low-paid jobs. Penny, is the main breadwinner as a cashier in a supermarket. Her partner Phil, drives a cab around town after years of unemployment. Living in a council flat with their two children, Penny and Phil have resigned themselves to their life on the treadmill. Vera Drake, sees the titular character as a cleaner in post-war Britain, while her husband works in a garage. Although they don’t have much money, they are optimistic. Having survived the Second World War, things were looking up for the United Kingdom. However, Vera keeps a secret from their family that eventually threatens to destroy their bond...

Representing two very different scores, Andrew Dickson's music for both Vera Drake and All or Nothing showcase the composer's ability to conjure up just the right atmosphere to deal with any scenario.

Vera Drake is very theme led, whilst All or Nothing is fluid, open and feels more like classical music. Both are emotive and richly layered, ensuring that you'll want to return to them time and time again.

This album also contains music from Someone Else’s America and Oublie Moi. Someone Else's America brought to mind Michael Nyman's music for The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. While it doesn't sound the same, thematically, it feels very much as though it could have been composed for that movie. Oublie Moi is another score that leans heavily on repeated themes.

For those who are wondering why the entire album wasn't taken up by music from Vera Drake, the most well known of the films represented here, the composer explains, in his insightful audio commentary, that there was only 14 minutes of music in the film.

Caldera does a wonderful job of presenting these four very different but equally notable scores.


Darren Rea

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